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Silicon Valley WAGE-FIX: Tech firms mull new deal to kill staff lawsuit

Apple, Google, Adobe and Intel say details coming soon

Apple, Google, Adobe and Intel are reportedly closing in on a wage-fix settlement deal to end a long-running antitrust lawsuit brought against the companies by aggrieved engineers.

According to Reuters, which has seen a brief document* filed at the US District Court, Northern District of California, plaintiffs were expected to imminently respond to a settlement agreement put forward by the firms.

In August last year, Judge Lucy Koh chucked out an earlier $324.5m deal proposed by Apple et al, by saying that the staffers deserved more cash.

Thousands of former employees slung a sueball at Adobe, Apple, Google and Intel in 2011, alleging that the companies agreed not to try to poach each other's workers so as they could cap wages in Silicon Valley.

It has been claimed that Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was the ringleader of the alleged conspiracy to keep salaries down.

Apple and Google allegedly had a gentleman's agreement not to poach each other's staff – recruitment agencies were told not to cold call anyone working for the other company.

At the time of the alleged collusion Google's then CEO Eric Schmidt served on the board of Apple.

It's understood that details of the planned settlement deal will be revealed on Thursday, at which point Judge Koh will consider whether the new figure is acceptable for plaintiffs who have been battling the tech titans. ®

*At time of publication, the latest filing for the case "In re: High-Tech Employee Antitrust Litigation" 11-cv-2509 was yet to appear online.

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